In the best of times-- pre-covid-- getting into Zion Canyon was difficult. Now, it borders on impossible (see Tip Critical Planning for Zion National Park ) which raises the question, ‘Is Zion national park worth a visit if I can't get a reservation for the shuttle bus into Zion Canyon? ' If your planned trip is only to Zion National Park, probably not, but if a visit to Zion national park is only part of itinerary, most likely yes. Zion National Park is worth a visit even without Zion Canyon.
On a scale of * to ****, the Zion Canyon Drive scores *****. Driving UT Rt 9 across Zion National Park also scores *****. Kobob Canyon scores ***. Lunch al fresco in Springdale is actually inside the widest part of Zion Canyon****.
UT Rt 9 connects I-15 to US Rt 89. Any 10 mile long segment of this 50 mile long drive would be a national park in any state east of the Rocky Mtns. Rt 9 is a mountain road, and mountain roads are always worth driving in both directions. Why is a road through a canyon a mountain drive? Consider the view of the North Face of the Eiger, which is best seen from Kleinescheidegg. That great mountain scene is about 3,500 vertical feet of bare rock. So is Zion Canyon at its deepest. The top drive on Rt 9 is going east to west from the East entrance to Zion National Park to Zion Canyon Road in the early morning light. Going west to east is best done in the afternoon, especial late afternoon as the shadows deepen.
Other nearby sights:
Further afield (abut an hour from the start or end of Rt 9:
None of the photos are from Zion Canyon, all are from UT Rt 9 inside the park
Guided tour of Sapelo Island five miles offshore from the Georgia Coast. Includes roundtrip ferry ride to the Island, the University of Georgia's Marine Institute, R. J. Reynolds Mansion, historic, Sapelo Island Lighthouse, beautiful unspoiled and undeveloped Atlantic Ocean beach, and African-American community of slave descendants.